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July 02, 2013

Top Headline Comments 7-2-13

Happy Tuesday.

Ed Snowden continues to make threats. On the other hand, he's managed to piss off Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa.

WSJ on student loan rates.

You may have seen a news story on NSA spying that was posted very briefly over the weekend at UK's the Guardian and its sister site, the Observer. The claim was that several European countries were spying for the NSA. (The inverse of this story -- the NSA was spying on several European countries -- actually turned out to be true.) Here's the "Anatomy of a Fake 'Observer' Story" explaining how the Guardian went wrong.

Whoops. Massachusetts officials have realized that Obamacare will cause “extreme premium increases” (their words) in Massachusetts, so they're seeking a waiver from the "affordable care" law.

I wrote a bit yesterday on Twitter about the 20-week abortion ban debate and theatrics down in Texas. My advice to folks talking about this is to use "six months" instead of "20 weeks." Emphasize the familiar: we all know what six months of pregnancy looks like. Banning abortions after 20 weeks means banning abortions inside the sixth month. 20 weeks is almost clinical and nobody really thinks in those terms, anyway.

We all have an instinctive feel for two weeks' time, four weeks' time, maybe even six weeks' time. But after that, most people think in terms of months. And, as I said, everybody knows what six months of pregnancy looks like. There's no way to make the usual intellectual dodge -- "it's just a clump of cells" work at that point. Not even close.

By six months, the baby and mother, if they're receiving standard care, will have had at least two ultrasounds. The baby's organs and limbs will have been inspected. The little sucker will have been moving about for a while. The mother, if she's not a monster, (and hopefully the father, too) will have listened to the heartbeat. All that comes before the Wendy Davises of the world say that you should be able to kill that baby for any reason or no reason at all.

I get that for medical and legal purposes, using 20 weeks is necessary. For purposes of communicating what 20 weeks is, I think we get further by reminding folks as often as possible just what pregnancy after 20 weeks looks like.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 AM

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